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Hillary Clinton Eyes Burns, Holbrooke, Ross for State Jobs

Friday, 09 Jan 2009 08:17 AM

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WASHINGTON -- Sen. Hillary Clinton plans to keep career diplomat William Burns on as undersecretary of state for political affairs and to tap foreign policy veterans Richard Holbrooke and Dennis Ross for senior roles, a source close to President Barack Obama's transition said on Thursday.

The source said Clinton, Obama's choice for secretary of state, is expected to select Holbrooke, who negotiated the 1995 peace agreement that ended the Bosnian war, to be special envoy to India and Pakistan.

Relations between the nuclear-armed South Asian states, which have fought three wars since 1947, have deteriorated since the November strikes in Mumbai that killed 179 people and that Indian blames on Pakistani militants.

Islamabad has denied any involvement by state agencies, although senior Pakistani officials have confirmed the lone surviving gunman is Pakistani.

Clinton plans to name Ross, a veteran of Arab-Israeli negotiations when her husband, Bill Clinton, was president, to a senior post that may cover Iran and the broader Middle East, said the source, who spoke on condition he not be identified.

She has also settled on Kurt Campbell, a Pentagon official under former President Bill Clinton, to be assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said two sources familiar with the decision.

But Campbell is not expected to have responsibility for the multilateral effort to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions. That role appears likely to go to another official, the sources said.

One source said Clinton was expected to name Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, to be the State Department's director of policy planning.

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

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